The ES520 boasts some of the finest performance features and technology available in a mid-range instrument and is an excellent introduction to Kawai’s line of digital pianos. Wireless connection with Bluetooth MIDI and Audio supports a wide range of apps, including Kawai’s PianoRemote, as well as music streamed from a smartphone or tablet. Standard MIDI, USB, and Line In/Out terminals provide for wired connections. A collection of acoustic piano sounds, along with electric pianos, organs, strings, and other instrumental sounds support a wide range of musical styles.
Developed in collaboration with the audio experts at Onkyo, the ES520’s powerful stereo speaker system deploys the very latest audio processing and amplification technology for exceptional tonal clarity and richness. Ideally suited for beginning piano players, recreational players, and gigging or studio musicians, the ES520 offers a grand piano-like touch and tone in an attractive, lightweight design. Add the matching optional HM-5 stand along with the F-302 triple pedal and the ES520 is transformed into a stylish addition to any room in your home.
The Touch of a Grand Piano: Responsive Hammer Compact II keyboard action
The ES520’s Responsive Hammer Compact II (RHCII) keyboard action has been developed to represent the distinctive touch of an acoustic grand piano. Based on the highly-regarded RH keyboard action design, its spring-less technology, and sturdy construction delivers consistent upward and downward motion for a smooth, natural, and highly authentic piano playing experience.
Acoustic piano key weighting
Just as acoustic pianos utilise heavier bass hammers and lighter treble hammers, the RHCII keyboard action also employs different hammer weights, appropriately graded for each playing range.
Such details provide greater stability during fortissimo passages, while preserving delicate pianissimo control, to satisfy the demands of even the most discerning pianist.
More realistic & responsive
The Responsive Hammer Compact II keyboard action utilises an accurate triple-sensor key detection system for enhanced playing realism.
The added third sensor improves responsiveness when playing the same key repeatedly, and unlike conventional two sensor keyboard actions found in most portable pianos, allows the sound of a single note to be gradually ‘layered’ without the previous tone being lost.
In addition, Kawai’s action technology also monitors the speed at which each key is lifted, influencing the release character of piano sounds, and providing a greater range of expression between staccato and legato playing.
The Sound of a Grand Piano: Two world-class instruments
Earning a reputation as the ‘premier pianos of Japan’, Shigeru Kawai instruments grace the stages of concert halls and musical institutions throughout the world, and are prized for their outstanding tonal clarity and exceptional dynamic range.
The ES520 captures the magnificent tone of the flagship Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand piano. This peerless instrument is hand-built by Master Piano Artisans at the Shigeru Kawai Piano Research Laboratory in Ryuyo, Japan, and widely regarded as one of the finest instruments in its class.
In addition, the ES520 also features the distinctive sound of Kawai’s highly acclaimed EX concert grand piano, which has been selected by professional pianists in such prestigious events as the Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Rubinstein international piano competitions, among others.
Both the SK-EX and EX are faithfully reproduced with full 88-key sampling using advanced Harmonic Imaging™ sound technology, to establish a new standard in digital piano tonal quality, and allow musicians to appreciate the contrasting properties of each.
True character in every note
The rich, expressive sound of the SK-EX and EX concert grand pianos is at the heart of the ES520, with all eighty-eight keys of these world-class instruments painstakingly recorded, meticulously analysed, and accurately reproduced as high-fidelity digital waveforms.
Recording each key individually in this way – as opposed to stretching the same tone over several different notes – preserves the grand pianos’ unique harmonic character, and guarantees that the sound heard when playing any one of the ES520’s weighted keys is a faithful representation of the original acoustic source.
Rich, dynamic, expressive
When playing a fine piano, the amount of pressure applied to the keyboard affects not only the volume of the sound produced, but also the unique tonal character of each note. Therefore, in order to construct a realistic acoustic portrait of each grand piano, not only is each key recorded individually, but also at a wide variety of different volumes, ranging from gentle pianissimo to thunderous fortissimo.
The ES520 offers a highly detailed acoustic portrait, employing Kawai’s proprietary Progressive Harmonic Imaging sampling technology to ensure smooth tonal transitions across the keyboard and throughout the entire dynamic range.
Variety beneath your fingertips
Alongside the classically voiced SK-EX and EX grand piano sounds, the ES520 also showcases a selection of Jazz, Pop, and Modern variations suitable for a range of musical genres. A traditional Kawai upright piano sound is also included, for pieces that suggest a feeling of nostalgia, or call for a slightly more intimate tonal character.
Personalised piano enhancements
The knowledge and skill of an experienced piano technician is essential to bring out the best of a fine acoustic piano. In addition to tuning each note, the technician also performs numerous regulation and voicing adjustments that allow the instrument to truly sing.
The ES520’s powerful Virtual Technician function simulates these refinements digitally, allowing discerning musicians to shape aspects of the selected piano’s character to suit their personal preferences.
Perform touch weight and voicing adjustments, regulate hammer and key release noises, and fine-tune string and damper resonances. It’s even possible to adjust the precise tuning, volume, and character of individual notes.
Studio quality effects & reverb
The ES520’s powerful digital effects engine enhances the instrument’s superior core sounds, applying additional layers of detail and realism that bring performances to life.
Tailor an instrument’s character and feeling with a range of studio quality chorus, tremolo, delay, and auto-pan effects. Add vintage warmth to electric pianos and trademark growl to drawbar organs using the dedicated Amp Sim speaker models.
Then adjust the instrument’s reverb controls to position yourself within one of six acoustic environments, ranging from a small practise room to an inspirational grand cathedral.
Premium audio technologies, Powered by Onkyo
Developed in collaboration with Onkyo, one of Japan’s leading premium audio equipment manufacturers, the ES520 features a redesigned motherboard, amplifier, and audio delivery system. These premium components combine to deliver best-in-class audio quality, producing an extremely rich, clear sound with minimal distortion.
Onkyo designed sound hardware
The ES520 motherboard and sound hardware is designed for precise signal conversion and optimum sound quality. Onkyo’s unrivalled knowledge and experience in producing premium audio components ensures clear, high-fidelity sound with minimal distortion.
Room-filling resonance & tonal clarity
The ES520’s impressive 40W output system utilises speaker box enclosures that deliver a rich, expansive sound to rival much larger console digital pianos. This design allows for a compact, portable instrument, capable of enthralling medium-sized audiences without the need for additional amplification.
The Variety of a Digital Piano: Convenience & Flexibility
Complementing the instrument’s authentic Responsive Hammer Compact II keyboard action and Progressive Harmonic Imaging grand piano sounds, the ES520 also offers a strong selection of digital piano features that further enhance one’s musical enjoyment.
Wireless Bluetooth® connectivity, USB audio record/playback, Dual, Split, and Four Hands keyboard modes, and a rich assortment of instrumental voices are just some of the features accessible from the piano’s intuitive control panel and large OLED display.
Integrated Bluetooth® connectivity
In addition to standard USB and MIDI jacks for connecting to computers or other instruments, the ES520 also features integrated Bluetooth® MIDI and Audio technologies that allow the instrument to communicate with supported smart devices wirelessly.
Once paired with a phone, tablet, or laptop, ES520 owners can enjoy a wide variety of exciting music-related apps that enhance their learning and playing experience, or stream audio from songs and videos directly through the instrument’s powerful speaker system without the need to connect additional cables.
The latest ES520 is compatible with Kawai’s new PianoRemote control app for iOS and supported Android devices. This app connects to the piano wirelessly via the instrument’s integrated Bluetooth feature, providing an effortless way to change sounds or adjust settings from an attractive user interface.
Flexible USB connectivity
The ES520 is equipped with modern USB connectors that not only allow the instrument to be connected to a computer for MIDI use, but also to load and save data to USB memory devices directly.
This latter USB to Device functionality allows favourite instrument settings, registrations, and memorable recorder songs stored within internal memory to be safely preserved on USB flash drives, or for standard MIDI files (SMF) downloaded from the internet to be played back and enjoyed using the instrument’s superb Progressive Harmonic Imaging sounds without additional hardware or cables.
Additional instrument sounds
Supplementing the beautiful acoustic piano voices, the ES520 also features a strong selection of additional sounds.
Vintage electric pianos, drawbar organs, and warm synth pads allow this portable piano to serve as a convenient gigging board, while church organs, strings, and graceful choir voices ensure that the versatile ES520 is equally at home in places of worship.
Furthermore, the Dual playing mode also allows two different sounds, such as grand piano and strings, to be layered together, while the Split and Four Hands modes divide the keyboard into two independent sections, with volume balances adjustable in real-time from the front panel.
Superior headphone experience
The ES520’s Spatial Headphone Sound (SHS) technology enhances the depth and realism of the instrument’s sound when listening through headphones or earphones. The player can select one of three different acoustic presets that adjust the spatial positioning of the sound, while also helping to reduce auditory fatigue when using earphones or headphones for extended periods of time.
In addition, the ES520 also allows players to select a variety of headphone types (Open, Semi-open, Closed, In-Ear, Canal, etc.) for an optimised listening experience.
Uncluttered appearance, lightweight body
The ES520 adopts a brand new exterior design, utilising a molded unibody construction. Its smoothly rounded edges and clean lines complement the flat, uncluttered panel surface, with elegantly recessed buttons that depress with a satisfying click. Lightweight and portable, the ES520 weighs just 14.5 kg, yet possesses a stylish, professional quality that players can trust.
Choice of finishes
Available in a smooth, matte Black or matte White finish, the ES520’s clean design is appropriate for both traditional and contemporary spaces. And with matching designer stand and triple pedal options, the instrument can be easily transformed into an ultra-compact piano replacement for the lounge, studio, or bedroom.
HM-5 designer stand
The HM-5 designer stand transforms the portable ES520 into ultra-compact, stylish piano replacement.
Crafted from wood and metal, this sturdy platform is the ideal solution for ES520 owners seeking a modern, attractive alternative to uninviting keyboard stands. The ES520 secures to the HM-5 stand using four manageable thumb screws, allowing the instrument to be easily decoupled and taken on the road.
* Available in matching Black or White finishes.
F-302 Grand Feel pedal bar
The F-302 Grand Feel pedal bar attaches to the HM-5 stand to deliver a fully-fledged grand piano playing experience in an ultra-compact package.
As with Kawai’s large console instruments, the Grand Feel Pedal System replicates the individual weighting of the damper, soft, and sostenuto pedals of a Kawai SK-EX Concert grand piano, further enhancing the ES520’s impressive acoustic piano-like authenticity.
* Available in matching Black or White finishes.
* HM-5 designer stand also required.
GFP-3 triple pedal unit
For higher level performers, the GFP-3 triple pedal provides full damper, soft, and sostenuto pedal functionality within a sturdily built portable unit.
As with F-302 Grand Feel pedal bar, the GFP-3 triple pedal also replicates the individual weighting of the damper, soft, and sostenuto pedals of a Kawai SK-EX Concert grand piano.
* Availability dependent on market location.
SC-1 padded gigbag
For active musicians that perform regularly, the SC-1 padded gigbag provides a strong yet stylish solution for transporting the ES520 between the home, studio, and stage.
Manufactured from rugged, composite materials, with thick internal padding, a large front pocket for cables and pedals, and heavy-duty rollers for smooth transportation, the SC-1 gigbag is an essential accessory for travelling ES520 players of all levels.
* Availability dependent on market location.
* Exact appearance may vary depending on market location.
* Dimensions: 140 (W) x 18 (D) x 40 (H) cm
・ Responsive Hammer Compact II action
- 88 keys
- Grade-weighted hammers
- Matte key surfaces
- Triple sensor hammer detection
・ F-10H pedal unit
- Damper (with half-pedal support)
・ Progressive Harmonic Imaging (PHI)
- 88-key stereo sampling
- SK-EX, EX recording
- 192 note maximum polyphony
– Damper Resonance
– String Resonance
・Virtual Technician (17 parameters)
- Touch Curve (incl. User Touch Curve)
- Voicing (incl. 88-key User Voicing)
- Damper Resonance
- Damper Noise
- String Resonance
- Key-off Effect
- Fall-back Noise
- Hammer Delay
- Decay Time
- Minimum Touch
- Stretch Tuning (incl. 88-key User Tuning)
- Temperament (incl. User Temperament)
- Temperament Key
- Key Volume (incl. 88-key User Key Volume)
- Half-Pedal Adjust
- Soft Pedal Depth
No. of Sounds
16 types + amp simulator (3 types)
(8 x 12) cm x 2
40 W (20 W × 2)
Spatial Headphone Sound
128 x 64 pixel OLED
Transparent, detachable type (included)
134 cm (52 3/4″)
37.5 cm (14 3/4″)
14.5 cm (5 3/4 “) [music rest detached]
14.5 kg (32 lbs.)
23 sound demo songs
approximately 5,000 notes
No. of Songs
1/4, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 3/8, 6/8
Bluetooth (Ver. 4.1; GATT compatible)
Bluetooth Low Energy MIDI Specification compliant
Bluetooth Audio with aptX support
USB Audio Recorder
KSO [Kawai song format]
SMF (Playback only)
2 x 1/4″ Stereo jacks
MIDI IN, MIDI OUT
1/4″ L/MONO, R [unbalanced]
1/8″ Stereo [unbalanced]
USB to Host
USB to Device
Damper (for F-10H)
Damper/Soft/Sostenuto (for F-302 or GFP-3)
Speakers on/off switch
AC adaptor (PS-154)
Warranty card *
Transparent music rest
F-10H damper pedal (with half-pedal support)